A nature-themed lead-in to Thanksgiving and, for the science-minded, a beginning lesson in adaptations.


From the If Animals series

As summer turns to fall, adorable forest animals count their blessings in Paul and Walker’s newest addition to the If Animals… series.

Rabbit and Squirrel are each thankful for things that keep them warm—Rabbit for his thick fur and Squirrel for her puffy tail. Crow’s thankful for the “great bowl of sky,” and “Raccoon would chir-chirrrrr / thanks for her cub / and nuz-nuzzle him / and rub rubbi-rub.” Frog’s grateful for her “bug-catching tongue and her lily-pad boat”; Beaver, for his oarlike tail. A bit oddly, Coyote howls “thanks for the / bright, sunny day.” Bear makes appearances throughout the pages, collecting clover, then honey, a basket of blueberries, and a fish. Turtle and Skunk round out the thankful friends who all gather round Bear’s laden table. After their feast, they lounge in the grass together, their contented looks saying everything. Paul’s rhyming verses here emphasize some of the sounds forest animals make, the typeset changing color and alignment to suit, and no doubt young listeners and their enthusiastic adults will enjoy voicing them. Walker’s cuddly creatures are like stuffed animals come to life, all gentle smiles and dot eyes. The softly colored palette and rounded edges in the illustrations further add to the sweet mood.

A nature-themed lead-in to Thanksgiving and, for the science-minded, a beginning lesson in adaptations. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-31341-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.


From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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